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Bible Commentaries
Mark 3

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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Verses 1-19

  1. JESUS’ COURAGE! (3:1-6)
    1. Other writings let us know he was not born with this, but some illness had taken the strength from him.
      1. We have a few fragments from “The Gospel according to Hebrews” (an Apocryphal N.T. book) [which were never deemed cannon, but were quoted from the early church fathers] It said that this man was a stone mason & that he sought Jesus to heal him, for his livelihood was in his hands & he was ashamed to beg.
    2. The law of the day was that you couldn’t give medical attention on the Sabbath unless their life was in danger! [He obviously wasn’t]
    3. He asks him to step forward, or arise into the midst (3).
      1. Maybe to try to awaken, one last time, sympathy for this man.
      2. And probably to make sure everyone could see what was about to take place!
    4. Their rigidity to keep the law actually led them to abuse it far worse then they even think Jesus did! (Their rigidity led to hate & murder!)
      1. Jesus was able to look behind the law to see how they were intended for our benefit
      2. Their religion was loving ritual; Jesus religion was loving God & loving man.
      3. Jesus was people-centered; the Pharisees were law-centered!
      4. The Pharisees made a huge mistake that many still make today, this idea that you actually can domesticate real faith into humanly attainable standards. (a 1000 x’s NO!)
    5. Again note the pressure Jesus was facing having…“the religious leaders plotting to kill Him.”
      1. Let’s see how the common people are responding to Him?
  2. JESUS’ COMPASSION! (3:7-12)
    1. (7) Jesus never withdrew out of fear! - Nor ran from His problems! - Nor was he afraid to face the music!
      1. Simply…His time was not yet come!!! [There was still much He had to say & do!]
    2. (9) There is a job for everyone, even if only holding a little boat for Him!
      1. Oh the pleasure of simply being the door keeper in the house of the Lord; or loosing Jesus’ sandals; or here just holding His little get-away boat?
    3. Again note the pressure Jesus was facing having to have…“the motor running & the doors open, for a quick get away!”
  3. JESUS’ CALL! (3:13-19)
    1. ​​​​​​​Well, let’s now look at “3 pressure release valves” Jesus pulls to release the steam from the pressure cooker of life!
      1. Again be asking yourself…How do I deal with pressure? - How should I? - How did Jesus deal with His?
    2. 3 ways to pounce Pressure: Get Alone; Get Praying; Get Help.
    3. Get Alone (13)
    4. He got away by Himself! (Does it say that?)
      1. Lk.6:12 Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself.
    5. Interesting, the Son of Man came to save man, but at times needed to get away from man! :)
    6. Yep, step one is to get off the treadmill of life & sit!
      1. These times are essential to our whole-being & our well-being.
      2. As Vance Havner you to say, “If we don’t follow Christ’s example to come apart, we may indeed, just come apart!”
      3. Allow Him to become irresistible again to you!
      4. Allow silence into your cluttered-loud-world! – Go park in the park; sit in a church sanctuary; find a hiking path up on the Plateau; get up early before the family; stay awake when everyone else is a sleep. Find/make your silence.
      5. Every day we need at least a few minutes, as well as extended times on a regular basis. [So, Get Alone!]
    7. Get Praying (Lk.6:12)
    8. Prayer drives us to Himself! – Prayer doesn’t pull God toward my will, but helps me to align w/ His will!
    9. Sir George Adam Smith tells how he and his guide were climbing the Weisshorn in the Swiss Alps. It was stormy and they were making their climb on the sheltered side of the peak. When they reached the summit, they were filled with the exhilaration. Sir George forgot about the fierce winds, leaped up and was nearly blown over the edge to the glacier below! The guide grabbed hold of him and exclaimed:“On your knees, sir! You are safe here only on your knees!”
    10. [So, Get Alone & Get Praying]
    11. Get Help (14-19)
    12. Jesus wasn’t afraid to share His responsibilities!
      1. Like Moses father–in-law Jethro’s advice given in Exodus 18.
      2. Like Paul’s to Timothy, And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
      3. We also need other men & women to share the load.
    13. [So, Get Alone & Get Praying & Get Help]
    14. 2 questions are answered here: How Jesus would make His message permanent? & How He would make His message duplicatable?
      1. ​​​​​​​He chose men whose heart He could write His message on, & who would go out from his presence to carry it abroad!
    15. By worldly standards...these men had no qualifications at all!
      1. Not wealth, no special positions, no special education, not trained theologians, not high ranking churchmen, they were 12 ordinary men!
      2. 12 ordinary men that were appointed, actually He made them (lit.)
      3. What they had going for them was: [1] they were attracted to Jesus & [2] they had courage to show they were on His side!
      4. These guys had all sorts of faults…but they loved Jesus & they weren’t afraid to tell the world about Him…That sounds like the definition of a Christian!!!
    16. We are called to 2 purposes: [1] to be with Him & [2] to be sent out by Him.
      1. To be w/Him – Have you found Him as the Irresistible Savior?
      2. To be sent out by Him - You have to be won in order to win others!
    17. We are equipped for 2 purposes: [1] to Preach & [2] to have Power!
      1. Preach – Jesus gave them something to say!
      2. Power – because they kept company with Him, his power was in their lives!
    18. Illustration: There are 2 ways of handling pressure:​​​​​​​ One is illustrated by a bathysphere, the miniature submarine used to explore the ocean in places so deep that the water pressure would crush a conventional submarine like an aluminum can. Bathyspheres compensate with plate steel several inches thick, which keeps the water out but also makes them heavy and hard to maneuver. Inside they're cramped. When these craft descend to the ocean floor, however, they find they're not alone. When their lights are turned on and you look through the tiny, thick plate glass windows, what do you see? Fish!These fish cope with extreme pressure in an entirely different way. They don't build thick skins: they remain supple and free. They compensate for the outside pressure through equal and opposite pressure inside themselves. Christians, likewise, don't have to be hard and thick skinned - as long as they appropriate God's power within to equal the pressure without. (Jay Kesler in Campus Life. Leadership, Vol. 5, no. 2.)
    19. Pressed out of measure and pressed to all length, Pressed so intently, it seems beyond strength, Pressed in the body, and pressed in the soul, Pressed in the mind till the dark surges roll, Pressure by foes, and a pressure by friends, Pressure on pressure till life nearly ends. Pressed into knowing no helper but God, Pressed into loving the staff and the rod, Pressed into liberty where nothing clings, Pressed into faith for impossible things, Pressed into living a life in the Lord,Pressed into living a Christ-life outpoured.The Disciplines of Life, by V. Raymond Edman, (Minneapolis: World Wide Publ., 1948), p. 16.
    20. 4 Pictures
      1. ​​​​​​​Picture a Tea Bag
        1. “People are like teabags; you never know how strong they are until they’re put in hot water.”
          1. When you place a tea bag in hot water, it doesn't change. But the hot water reveals what was already in the tea bag.
      2. Picture a Rose Petal
        1. ​​​​​​​We think of the scent given off when a Rose Petal is stepped on & crushed.
      3. ​​​​​​​Picture a lump of Coal
        1. ​​​​​​​We think of Coal being under tremendous pressure being formed into Diamond. And this is done in a very dark place.
          1. Most natural diamonds are formed at high temperature and pressure at depths of 87-120 miles in the earth mantle.
        2. Every pressure that comes your way in your home life, in college, in your employment, will make you either bitter or better! [The struggle is just part of the journey!]
      4. Picture a water-saturated sponge.
        1. If we push down with our finger even slightly, water runs out onto the table. We immediately know what fills the interior pockets of the sponge.

Verses 20-35

  1. Intro:
    1. Illust: The following series of advertisements reportedly appeared in a daily newspaper:
      1. Monday: “The Rev. A.J. Jones has one color TV set for sale. Telephone 626– 1313 after 7 p.m. and ask for Mrs. Donnelley who lives with him, cheap.”
      2. Tuesday: “We regret any embarrassment caused to Rev. Jones by a typographical error in yesterday’s paper. The ad should have read: ‘The Rev. A.J. Jones has one color TV set for sale, cheap...Telephone 626–1313 and ask for Mrs. Donnelley, who lives with him after 7 p.m.’”
      1. Wednesday: “The Rev. A.J. Jones informs us that he has received several annoying telephone calls because of an incorrect ad in yesterday’s paper. It should have read: ‘The Rev. A.J. Jones has one color TV set for sale, cheap. Telephone 626–1313, after 7 p.m. and ask for Mrs. Donnelley who loves with him.’”
      2. Thursday: “Please take notice that I, the Rev. A.J. Jones, have no color TV set for sale; I have smashed it. Don’t call 626–1313 anymore. I have not been carrying on with Mrs. Donnelley. She was, until yesterday, my housekeeper.’”
      3. Friday: “Wanted: a housekeeper. Usual housekeeping duties. Good pay. Love in, Rev. A.J. Jones. Telephone 626–1313.’”
        1. Mistakes are inevitable in the publishing business. [while funny here, not funny in reg life]
        2. Jesus was often Mistaken, Misunderstood & Misread, which will be this morning Outline.
  2. MISTAKEN (Ministry) (20,21)
    1. (20) Tie in to 19b.
    2. (21) When His own people heard about this. Heard about what? Him not eating!
      1. They did love him...but, they thought He was a little bit fanatical. Kind of…well…crazy. Fixated w/faith. Over-enthusiastic.
      2. I think His diagnosis today would be “obsessive-compulsive”.
        1. He is out of His mind - Messiah complex?
      3. I believe this “family intervention” is what they really thought would be best for Him.
        1. He’s throwing away security & safety...we must take charge of him! - A well-meaning, but mistaken action!
      4. They thought...This religious fervor was going to ruin His health!
        1. ​​​​​​​Think of the reports they received last week...where that He almost got trampled...He even had to have a get-away boat!!! [family just traveled 25 m. from Naz]
          1. Jesus don’t you know, you could lose your life doing this!
        2. 1st He gave up a decent career in the carpentry union! – Then, look at the posse He’s running with. – We hear He sometimes stay up all night, w/no sleep! – And, He seems to be given to extremes! It’s ok to be devout, but NOT fanatical!
      5. Jn.7:1-9 tells us that Jesus’ brothers were still not believing in Him, even later in His ministry.
    3. These guys became the model for those who hold the charitable opinion, “Jesus was a good man, even a great man, but He is just mistaken about who He is & what His mission is!
      1. But what is “good”, or “great”, or “wonderful” about a man who lies? (i.e. if He’s not the Son of God?) That, as C.S.Lewis would say, “Is just patronizing nonsense!”
      2. He is the Son of God, or else He’s the devil himself to claim such a claim & not be Him!
    4. If you’ve been ever accused of being a Jesus freak, or too fanatical, or even mad…no worries…so was Paul, Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, "Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad! (Acts 26:24)
      1. They thought Luther, Bunyan, Whitefield, & Wesley were mad.
      2. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (Jn.15:19)
    5. Jesus was Mistaken in His Ministry!
  3. MISUNDERSTOOD (Power) (22-30)
    1. ​​​​​​​And now the Scribes turn up the heat!
    2. The famous ACLU Trial Lawyer Clarence Darrow said (Bobby Franks Trial & the Scopes Monkey Trial), “I have suffered from being misunderstood, but I would have suffered a lot more if I had been understood.”
      1. Though I don’t like this comparison, I wonder if Jesus would have said the same?
        1. What if they really understood Him as GOD in their midst?
      2. Or as Ralph Waldo Emerson, “To be great is to be misunderstood.”
      3. You also know what it’s like to be misunderstood!
    3. (22) Beelzebub, the Philistine god of flies.
      1. Was changed to Beelzebul, “god of dung”, and was used in a shameful way as a name of the devil.
      2. Others prefer to derive the word from baal zebul, the “lord of the dwelling” in which evil spirits dwell.
        1. The fact that Jesus designates Himself as “master of the house” would seem to indicate that Beelzebul had a similar meaning.
    4. (22b) Note: They couldn’t & didn’t deny his exorcisms. “…He casts out demons”.
      1. In Mt.12:22-24 Jesus just healed a man that was demon-possessed, blind & mute.
        1. So the issue became, by what power He did it?
        2. NLT, He's possessed by Satan, the prince of demons. That's where he gets the power to cast out demons. [which makes about as much sense as a dog biting his own tail!]
    5. (23) Jesus answers with logic-extraordinaire!
      1. Here He drops 3 sticks of dynamite to explode their argument!
      2. He proves how illogical this is:
      3. If a kingdom (24) We call this civil war. A nation won’t last if it continues in this!
      4. If a house (25) This is just as true domestically. Internal division tears a family apart
      5. If Satan (26) Even the Devil knows his household must be united. He can’t be divided against himself.
    6. (27) Now Jesus tells them exactly what just went on: [He uses a parable]
      1. The strong man is Satan. - His house is the kingdom which he dominates here on earth. - His possessions are the helpless victims whom he holds in bondage through his demons. - Now Jesus has bound him so that people can be set free! (1 Jn.3:8)
    7. Believer, good news. Satan is like a dog on God’s leash.
      1. Ever walk by someone’s property where a dog is lying? Then he springs up & runs at you full speed, & at the last minute you realize he’s chained & running out of slack quickly, then wham!
        1. Col.2:15 NIV And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
      2. Also remember, don’t give place to the devil (Eph.4:27)
        1. Some Christians see where the rut in the ground is & often get as close as they can to it! - Some Christians actually take walks in his yard!!! - No, don’t give him any place.
    8. THE UNPARDONABLE SIN! (28-30)
    9. Even many of the un-churched have heard of this warning! But let’s not pass up one of the most wonderful & beautiful truth’s in all the bible…all sins (& blasphemies) will be forgiven the sons of men!
      1. So let’s hold off on the “ONE” that can’t be forgiven!
      2. Murder? (check, ask Moses, David, Paul); Sexual immorality? (check, ask Judah w/ Tamar); Drunkenness? (check, ask Noah, & Lot); Denying Christ? (check, Peter).
      3. And let’s not forget Manasseh who in 2 Chron.29:6 said, He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. [yet, God forgave him]
        1. Anyone’s sins guiltier than this list? (& that was a partial list!)
      4. Oh what wonderful forgiveness we find in Jesus!
        1. 1 Jn.1:7 and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
    10. Ok, let’s deal with the Blaspheme of the H.S.!
      1. It is not…cursing the H.S.; it is not taking of the Lord’s name in vain; it’s not calling Jesus demon possessed.
      2. It is very simply “the ongoing, continual rejection of the witness of the H.S. to the divinity & Saviorhood of Christ.”
      3. It is not an ignorant blasphemer, but instead one who has heard, thought about, & rejected the Spirits loving tugs upon their heart.
        1. Isaiah described them well, they are those who have perverted all truth in their lives & they “call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
      4. So, this unforgivable sin is a deliberate & knowing rejection of Christ. It is not an isolated act but a willful attitude. It is not a sin that can be committed accidentally or knowingly. It is rather an indifference to sin, a cynical rejection of the grace of God
        1. To which God has no other invitation!
        2. It is dangerous to hear the gospel & turn it down. To hear of Christ’s love & turn it down. To hear of forgiveness & turn it down...over & over again.
      5. ​​​​​​​These Scribes were on the brink of committing this very sin.
      6. If you are worried that you’ve committed it…then you obviously haven’t! (i.e. you wouldn’t be worried about it!)
        1. You’d have no interest in Jesus, no interest in church, or in any spiritual matters!
    11. Jesus was Mistaken in His Ministry & Misunderstood with His Power!
  4. MISREAD (Family) (31-35)
    1. ​​​​​​​(33) Jesus wasn’t severing family ties.
      1. On the cross he was very concerned about His mother!
      2. Later, His ½ brother James would be the leader in the Jerusalem church. His ½ brother Jude would write his book!
      3. He meant, there is a deeper kinship than flesh & blood, a spiritual kinship which is characterized by obedience to the Father!
        1. ​​​​​​​Of course obedience doesn’t originate relationship w/God (faith does that) but obedience is a sign of it! (Kent Hughes)
      4. Jesus describes the New family, which is far superior to the human family…for it lasts longer (eternal); it’s stronger; it’s more satisfying.
        1. The highest relationships of life are spiritual, not physical.
        2. You’ve witnessed this. You meet someone. You find out they are born-again. You talk about Christ, ministry, His love. And you sense that warm wonderful feeling of “family”!
        3. Do you have more in common with your spiritual family than w/your earthly family?
    2. God is pro family! – Yet, we are presently watching the disintegration of the family melt right before us, even in the Church.
      1. We witness 2 extremes: The Lack of Love for your family; and The Worship of family (aka domestic idolatry).
      2. [1] Lack of love! Sociologist tell us that in the last couple decades the American nuclear family (A family unit consisting of a mother and father & their children) has been disintegrating & is accelerating at a rapid rate. It has to change; no complex society has ever survived w/o a nuclear family!
        1. Margaret Mead, U.S. anthropologist. Quoted in: New Realities (June 1978). “Nobody has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do. With no relatives, no support, we’ve put it in an impossible situation.”
      3. [2] The worship of family! Jesus warned, "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”
        1. We must love & obey God 1st !
    3. (34) He looked around at those seated around him. Mt. adds he gestured w/his hand…“and said, Here are my mother & brothers.”
      1. There are ties that are even deeper & stronger now...the Kingdom Family!
      2. To which all those to whom obey God belong.
      3. So, it’s not being in a National family (Jews); not being in a Natural family (His mother & brothers); but in a spiritual or Supernatural family.
    4. Jesus was Mistaken in His Ministry; Misunderstood with His Power; & Misread regarding His Family!
    5. Note the insiders & the outsiders.
      1. Jesus & His disciples went Inside the house(19); His own family was Outside (20). Again in vs.31 His family comes again & are standing Outside; and the crowds say it again, Your family is outside(32); No, My family is Inside sitting around me in a circle.
      2. Jesus went Outside for you to get Inside!
        1. Mark 1:45, the Leper could now go Inside the city (being healed) so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places.
        2. Heb.13:12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. He died outside so we could come Inside!
        3. Jesus cried, My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me...so you could cry, Our Father who art in heaven. And so you could cry, Abba, Father!
      3. Will you humble yourself and come and sit as Jesus feet?
        1. Isn’t that a whole lot better than,“try harder; do more; stop that; you don’t measure up; do it better.” Isn’t it a whole lot better to hear, “Believe in Jesus Christ; just sit at His feet; learn of Him; take Him for who He is; accept His ministry…& you will become an Insider!”
    6. Picture Jesus saying this wee verse, “One door & only one, yet its sides are two; I am on the Inside on which side are you?”
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Mark 3". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/mark-3.html. 2017.
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